From Academic Kids

Baltasar Garzón Real (born October 26, 1955 in Torres, Jaén, Spain) is a prominent judge ("investigating magistrate") of Spain. Garzón currently sits on Spain's highest criminal court, the Audiencia Nacional. Garzón is known in Spain as "Super Judge" or "Judge-Star."


International cases

Garzón rose to international prominence in 1998 for his issue of an arrest warrant for former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet over the deaths and torture of Spanish citizens during Pinochet's regime, using the Chilean Truth Commission (1990-91) report as the basis for the warrant. He has repeatedly expressed a desire to investigate former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in connection with a plot in the 1970s known as Operation Condor.

Garzón also opened the gates to charges of genocide being filed in Spain against Argentine military officers of genocide on the disappearance of Spanish citizens during Argentina's 1976-1983 dictatorship. In April 2001, he requested that the Council of Europe remove the immunity from prosecution enjoyed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy as a member of the Council's parliamentary assembly.

In December 2001, Garzón launched an inquiry in into the offshore accounts of Spain's second largest bank BBVA for alleged money laundering offences. In January 2003, he fiercely criticised the United States government over the detention of al-Qaida suspects in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He also campaigned strongly against the 2003 Iraq war.

Spanish cases

On the domestic front, Garzón has fought against Basque separatists: in October 2002 he suspended the operations of the Batasuna party for three years, alleging it is part of the armed group ETA. He has also closed the Basque newspapers Egin (and its radio station Egin Irratia) and Egunkaria. Because of this activity, he is viewed with contempt by Basque nationalists who see him attacking Basque culture beyond ETA terrorism.

In 1993, he went into politics, running for the Cortes Generales on the party list of then ruling party PSOE. He was also declared head of a strengthened National Plan Against Drugs by Spanish prime minister Felipe González. He resigned this post shortly after, however, complaining of lack of support from the government.

His later investigations helped the conviction of a PSOE minister as head of the GAL state terrorist groups. This was one of the factors that lead to PSOE's defeat in the next elections.

He has also investigated Jesús Gil, former mayor of Marbella and owner of Atlético de Madrid, on grounds of corruption.


Critics complain against his perceived eagerness for public attention; this, they claim, may have led to hastily prepared investigations ending in acquittal verdicts.

External links

eo:Baltasar GARZÓN it:Baltasar Garzón pt:Baltasar Garzón


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